'More needs to be done sooner' for police welfare

03 July 2018

Ché Donald

PFEW Vice-Chair Ché Donald

Police wellbeing is the focus of a new 'goal' being launched today by the Home Office in conjunction with partners in policing and mental health.

The shared goal was released ahead of the government mental health steering group hosted by policing Minister Nick Hurd.

Police Federation Vice-Chair Ché Donald who attended the meeting said: “This is a positive step forward to improving the welfare support available to officers up and down the country. The timescales for officers to see and feel this support on the ground will be key to convincing them that the Chiefs mean action.

"Resilience in the police service is at an all-time low - with unprecedented cuts and officers being asked to do more with fewer resources - it’s no surprise that this is having an overwhelming negative impact on their health and wellbeing.

"Findings from our demand, capacity and welfare survey revealed that a concerning 80% of officers said they suffered from stress, low mood and anxiety. 92% of which said their psychological difficulties had been caused or made worse by work.

Figures collated from freedom of information results released this month also show that there has been a considerable rise in the number of officers off sick with mental health concerns over the last six years.

"Police officers are exposed to horrific things on a daily basis which undoubtedly have a significant impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Things that others wouldn’t even experience in a lifetime. But because ‘it’s their job’ it seems there is an expectation for them to brush it off - but police officers are not immune and early intervention and support is crucial in ensuring their long-term welfare and the overall sustainability of our police service.

"I am positive that we are making progress and we have a shared vision in place for the future of police welfare but more needs to be done sooner to ensure that all forces have appropriate and consistent welfare provisions in place to look after the people who we rely on to keep us safe.

"Chiefs should be investing in their current welfare provisions regardless, cost is no excuse. If you think welfare provision is expensive, it pales in comparison to the cost of sickness."